This week my partner and I treated ourselves to a 'mini cruise' to Amsterdam with P and O Ferries starting out from Hull.
At £79 each for the basic return journeys including coach transfers into Amsterdam, and £24 per person each way for the breakfast and evening meal package, we didn't consider it bad value for a city break.
The ferry was clean and once we got over the surprise of how small it was, the cabin was a comfortable little base - not that we spent very much time in it. Entertainment on board included a good pianist/vocalist who provided the background sounds as you sipped your drink and watched the waves. Meanwhile on the main entertainment deck, children had their own show with later cabaret offerings from a troupe of young performers, who, while not the best I have seen put their hearts and souls into their performance to provide a cheerful and energetic show.
The evening meal in The Kitchen restaurant was buffet style and there was plenty of choice and it was good that some hot and non-alcoholic drinks were included in the price. While I thoroughly enjoyed the evening meals, I could have done without the breakfast - not because there was anything wrong with the food. Whether it was the early hour or the novelty of 'all you can eat' the whole breakfast experience was a mash of people diving for the same sausage or spending 20 minutes trying to figure out the right button to press to work the coffee machine.
Overall though we were looked after well on our little cruise by polite and friendly staff and were helped every step of the way which would make this an ideal short break for those less familiar with travelling across the water.
We're already looking forward to our next few days off work so we can plan another mini cruise to Bruges.
I travelled on 23/12 mini cruise, booked diner and breakfast both ways for two people.
I have travelled this route for 35 yrs and never in my life experienced anything like this before. Now I do understand that in the food business you cannot please all, but I do believe that we all expect hot food no matter how much you pay ,we pre paid our meals and received a small discount but my o my I have never been so disappointed before the food looked very good the first night but it was stone cold, I ate it as I did not want to cause a fuss, but on leaving the restaurant I informed the chef he offered to reheat my food but I told him I just ate it , I mentioned it so he could heat more for the traveller who had not eaten he told me its hard to keep food warm and the do change it over but made no effort to amend what was on the counter, but if they can keep soup warm why not gravy ? There was no hot desserts only cold defrosted cakes, cheesecake and tarts with jugs of fresh cream and ice cream, the next morning breakfast was ok cereal was served in big plastic bowls not individual packets no prunes or apricots the toast was cold fruit juice bitter black pudding was all dried up like the heels on a gents shoe the eggs were swimming in oil but the sausage beans and mushrooms were ok on our return journey I could not believe my eyes when I seen that the only food that was changed in the evening meal from the night before was fish cakes instead of fried fish, pork instead of turkey, and chicken soup instead of carrot and coriander, I do believe it was a change of curry but I don't know as I don't eat curry,the dessert were exactly the same as the previous evening as was the cold buffet. I ask the head waiter if he could explain to my why I was eating the same food as the previous night he replied no madam the hot food has pork and not turkey and its a different curry he did not know about the soup I was not happy about this as in total we paid £94 for this appalling food, the head waiter called in the head chef who informed me that they have no control what food is served it's the office in Dover that make these choices he completed a complaint form to which I had no problem signing, NEVER AGAIN. O yes there was prunes and apricots on the return breakfast.
As a regular user of just about all of the available North Sea crossings (average 150 crossings per year for the last ten years) I have experienced many levels of standard and a range of quality of service.
Last night, for the first time in ages, I shipped on P&O's "Pride of Hull".
I was given a cabin key on deck 8, just down the corridor from the noisy cabaret/disco.
On entering my cabin and checking the bathroom I noticed the shower-head was held in position by a plastic bag being tied around it and the soap dispenser was defective, filled but unserviceable. I lifted the toilet lid and was confronted by a toilet bowl filled to the brim with human waste. These ships sail only once a day so it'd been there for at least twelve hours. Quickly closing the lid and pressing & holding the vacuum button disposed of that little welcome gift. I reported it to reception, she apologised.
Down at the bar I ordered a pint of Stella. £3,50 to you sir, or Euro5,10
Five Euro's and Ten Cents for a pint of Stella?? (Euro3,20 on Stena Line)
Over the intercom an announcer "was pleased to inform us" that the Bureaux de Change was now open and that P&O charges no commission on transactions. Today's exchange rate was Euro1,41 to the pound. I quickly checked online, the going rate that day was Euro1,26 to the pound. Who needs commission at those rates?
Deck 8 is, of course, directly above deck 7. Deck 7 is the main car-deck. Ships move a little and vibrate slightly. Car alarms are sensitive to all this and trip regularly. This is all very audible through the floor and resulted in a broken night's sleep.
Eventually, at 05,30hrs I gave up and took a cold shower. "No hot water?", I hear you ask. Plenty of hot water, I just needed to cool down, the wall thermostat was broken and was stuck on 30 degrees all night!
Thank you P&O. Thank you for reminding me why I prefer crossing with Stena Line.
I have travelled on North Sea Ferries on many ocassions, and I have to say that I have allways enjoyed the experience. It is mainly the older ships to Zeebrugge that I have sailed on, and the layout of these quality ships is great. From the moment that you step on board you feel the stress of life lifting from you as you go to your cabin and settle in, then off to have a quick look around and relax with a nice coffee or a beer. The four seasons buffet restaurant is very good and has a very wide selection of quality foods available, the waiter will show you to your table and ask if any drinks are required then it's a case of dig in and eat what you wish. I find the atmosphere in the restaurant to be excellent, and the same applies to the hearty breakfast the following morning. Some people complain about the prices on board but to be honest the prices for drinks at the bar are much like you would pay in a typical British pub, and certainly far cheaper than on the continent.
Some people complain about the standard of entertainment in the sunset show lounge, but I like the Moonlight lounge much better as it is quieter and there are fewer children running around, and it is nice to listen to the fantastic pianist. My Tips are as follows:- Do not waste money upgrading to a cabin with a window, as the ship sails at night and there is nothing to see, the glass in the window may as well be painted black. I would also reccomend booking all the onboard meals at the time that you pay for your tickets, as this is cheaper than paying on board. The best deals on board for buying wine and beer tend to be if you buy a box of 6 bottles of wine (JP Chenet, V Nice) and Old Speckled Hen (Real Ale, V Nice). A word of warning if planning to use the cinema, if the sea is only slightly rough you will unconsciously feel sick as you are in a room with no windows, this happened to me so beware I do realise that we are all different.
If you ever feel a bit ill on board then go on deck for fresh air.
The staff are allways very helpful and seem to be happy in their work.
All of the ships do have ships police on board and if required they have the ability to lock people away for the safety of the passengers and crew, so if you are thinking about getting drunk and causing mayhem then think again.
The ships to Zeebrugge are now 24 years old but they still look good, and are well looked after, infact every other year they have millions spent on then to do them up.
Don't forget to keep an eye out for the 2 for 1 offers.
I have just booked to travel on a Bruges minicruise on the 14th December 2011 and ther are 4 adults in an inside cabin with all meals included and also the coach trip from Zeebrugge to Bruges and return for £303, any way you look at it it is a bargain.
After just coming back from a visit abroad using North Sea Ferries and doing this particularly crossing 3 or 4 times, I thought I'd let you know all about it!
This review is based on the Pride of York ferry out of Hull docks and to Zeebrugge.
The ferry itself is fairly tidy, although seems a little outdated in places. The cabin that we had was a four berth and exceptionally tiny as they always are, with a skanky shower room and toilet. The thing that was really frustrating in the rooms was the lack of a power socket, meaning I couldn't straighten my hair, which, as you can imagine was the end of the world (in my eyes!). We also found the rooms very cold, and even after adjusting the thermostat, it didn't seem to improve. With very thin quilts and a quivering 3 year old, this was slightly frustrating! The door to the rooms which leads out on to the corridor, also seemed to have a massive gap so you could practically hear people breathing as they walked past.
The ferry had plenty to offer with regards to entertainment, with an on-board cinema and 3 showings per night, a casino, 2 bars and 2 restaurants. There is also a little coffee bar, which offered warm snacks such as pizzas. These are perfect if you don't want to pay the high prices in the restaurant. We decided to pay for the buffet in the four seasons restaurant, which at £18 per adult certainly wasn't cheap, however it did allow us to take our daughter for free as she is under 4. The meal was average, but there was plenty to choose from, with a hot carvery, a salad bar, a selection of hot meals such as curry and chinese and a deserts bar. The menu did say there was a child's menu, but when I asked about this, they told me that the food suitable for children was out, but this included meatballs in a spicy sauce and beef burgers, neither of which my daughter liked. It's a good job her meal was free, as she refused to eat anything but cucumber and ice cream, purely because there was nothing really suitable for young children. The meal didn't include any drinks, however coffee was free. This was fine for my husband, but not being a fan of hot drinks (I know I'm weird), I was stuck with water after refusing to pay £3 for a diet coke!
After we had eaten we made our way to the show bar area which comprised of a large seating area around the bar, along with a dance floor and a stage. This was perfect for us, as our 3 year old loves dancing so we managed to get a good seat near the dance floor where we could keep an eye on her, and soon after the nights entertainment came on (a man with a guitar who couldn't sing) and our daughter was happy so we were happy. Bingo was next, perfect! The thing I like about these crossings, is it is pure cheese all night, but it's just the way I like it as a one off. It is almost a guaranteed cert that the act won't be able to sing, but it doesn't matter, you're on your holiday! Expect to pay high prices at the bar, but if it's not going to turn into a session, you don't mind buying the odd drink at the high prices.
The ferry obviously has it's own duty free on board as nearly all do, with the usual alcohol, perfume, make up, toys, books and to my delight Radley bags. Prices are slightly cheaper, but don't expect to get the deal of the century.
Service on board the ferry seemed good, although we only really paid for things, we didn't need to ask any member of staff for help. The ferry was clean and seemed well kept, apart from looking a bit tired in places, but that was just the age of the ferry showing.
The ferry sets sale at about 7.45pm and arrives at approximately 8.15am. When you exit the port at Zeebrugge, it's straight onto the motorway, meaning the destinations you can visit are fantastic. We were on a coach trip set for Disneyland in Paris, so Belgium is not the only destination you should bear in mind on this crossing. I won't comment on prices as ours was a set price which included hotels and tickets in Disney so it would be difficult to break down, but you can visit www.poferries.com for more information on prices on this crossing.
P&O offer mini crusies to Amsterdam and Bruges from hull. I have been on a few of these cruises and have to say they are excellent.
The ships are well fitted and comfortable. There are a number of restaurants and bars to choose from for evening entertainment. There is even a casino onboard. It gets really popular so do get there early.
The cabins are small but perfectly fine with bunk beds and a small shower room. You can upgrade but its very expensive.
Prices are excellent - especially if you get one of the 2-4-1 offers. At £66 for 2 people its really good value. Meals in the restaurant (£22 for dinner, £10 for breakfasty) do bump up the price but you can eat as much as you like. There are also cheaper places onboard to eat such as a cafe selling sandwiches and a pizza place.
There is a duty free shop onboard but it isnt that cheap.
I would recommend either Bruges or Amsterdam - both are worth visiting. My particular favourite is Bruges though as its just so lovely and theyres so much to see and do.
Overall i think P&O do a super job of entertaining you for a short break. If youve never been before, give it a go - dont forget to get your sea sickness tablets though - the north sea can get rather choppy!
We booked the bargain mini-cruise for myself, my wife and another couple and travelled in October half-term. The "mini cruise" included 2 nights cabin on the ferry and a full day in Amsterdam.
We checked in at about 5pm for our evening crossing at 9pm. We left our car in the ferry terminal which is a pay and display carpark charged at £5 per 24 hours, so for this minicruise it cost us £10.
Check-in was easy and we were given boarding cards and electronic room keys. We then proceeded to go through security and were on the boat within minutes. Our first impressions of the boat were great, it looked extremely clean and staff were on hand to point us the right direction to our cabins. We requested cabins next to our friends cabin and this was fulfilled.
We got the mini-cruise for £35 each and that included an upgrade to an outside cabin with a window. We booked through superbrak, I think next year their prices have gone up slightly but only to something like £39 so it really is a bargain trip to see another country. The summer months of April - September are more expensive, normally double the price.
The cabin was suprisingly spacious, they were not bunk beds as expected, one bed folded upto to the all and the other folder in to a settee so you could sit comfortably in the cabin with plenty of room. The window was surprisingly large, not just a small port hole. There was a small chair, with dressing table and mirror and some space to puts your bags and clothes. The bathroom was relatively small with toilet, sink and shower but served the purpose perfecty. I've stayed in hotels that are not as nice as these cabins.
The ferry itself had quite a few facilities to help us pass the time on our overnight crossing. There is a cinema with 2 screens showing different films at different times, all new releases, we didn't go ourselves but would be great for children to pass the time. There is also a small ballpen for children.
There is a 3 duty free shops, one specialising in perfume and designer items, one offering alcohol and the other selling gifty items, chocolates etc. The prices of perfume were reasonabale but no cheaper than in England. The wine worked out cheap, got some JP Chenet Merlot for £1.95 a bottle.
There is also plenty of places to have a drink and relax onboard. The sunset showbar has a live group in the evening, the band on our crossing were pretty good singing a number of cover versions of popular songs, this show bar also had bingo. The prices are drinks were about average, not too expensive as I feared, I think stella was about £2.90 a pint.
There was also an irish bar, a coffee shop also baguettes etc, and a roof top bar. This is on top of the boat and is also the only access to fresh air, known as the sun deck although I doubt it see much sun. The roof top bar had a pianist in the evening playing nice relaxing music whilst you had a quiet drink.
We did not eat onboard but there was the four seasons buffet that served buffet breakfast and evening meal. They were offering breakfast and dinner for £22.95 when we checked in as a special offer. There is also Logan's Brasserie which serves a la carte food and I believe is more expensive than Four Seasons. I'm guessing the food onboard is generally quite expensive, we went for a meal on our way upto Hull and ate in Amsterdam, I would definately reccommend doing this as it prevents you from spending too much on board. We packed some crisps and snacks for on the boat so we didn't go hungry.
Our crossing was smooth and the boat docked on fine. On departure the coaches were awaiting to take us into Amsterdam which took about 1.5 hours (the bus tickets were issued at check-in in hull). We arrived in Amsterdam at around 10.30 and the coach picked us up at 5pm. This gave us plenty of time to take in the sights of Amerstdam, we went on a boat tour around the canals, had some lunch, saw Anne Franks house (reccommend to book first - really long queues) and the weather wasn't bad either for October. We had just enough time to experience what we wanted in Amterdam and for the price it is unbelievable. You can always exend your stay with the minicruise too.
The advantage of the two night minicruise is that you can leave your luggage in your room whilst your in Amsterdam as you come back on the same boat.
The bus picked us up from Amsterdam Central Station at 5pm and we got back to the ferry at 7pm due to bust traffic. The ferry then left at 9pm and we arrived back in Hull early the next morning on time. The return journey was as much the same as going.
Overall for £35 each we couldn't have had two nights away and experienced another country. The P&O Pride of Rotterdam was a lovely boat which was well maintained and we all had a great time.
Had a great weekend on the Hull to Rotterdam (Amsterdam mini cruise).Themed night on the Friday with Boney M on stage. Great atmosphere with lots of fancy dress.Tiring day trip into 'Dam trying to do as much as possible in the time we had.Chilled out return trip with another night of entertainment (Illusion act called Mist on stage)Food was excellent, cabin was comfortable and the crew were very helpful and friendly.Everyone on board looked to be having a great time. Will definitley go again :)
This weekend we were booked on the Amsterdam Mini Cruise from Hull to Rotterdam. Friday night was a themed Halloween night with many people in fancy dress and a great show by Boney M later in the evening. After a few hours sleep it was time to hop off the ship onto a coach into 'Dam. Had a great day doing a Canal Cruise and a wander round the city before heading back to the ship for some food, a quick nap and back to the bar to watch some good entertainment including the Illusion show by Mist.A very tiring weekend as you try to make the most of everything but well worth it.
I remember going on this ferry when i was a little, i found it great. Im now older and travelled home on this ferry from calais. I know they are all the same, but on the way home i found it cheaper then all the rest. I travelled on sea france about a year ago, and it was very modern and relaxful.
The loading of the ferry was very quick, altho calais port need to sort there ay of doing it. But it was quick which is all that matters.
We got out of the car and entered the boat! It smelt! it was a horrible nasty toilet smell! I dont know what the matter was with it, but we quickly moved. I cant beilever people were eating with that smell. We decided to go outside to get away from it, The outdoor deck was very grubby and the seats were all rusted!They could of updated it a little!. But it got to windy and all i wanted to do was to sit down. Of course the smell came back, so we had to find a place to try and advoid it!
Everywhere we went it was packed, people were attully sitting on the corridors and anywhere they could find! They need more seats for people, as i cudent of stood up for a hour and a half! Not very good if you are driving home along away after!
There was plenty of snaks, a shops and a few resturants! the shop was very dear and didnt see why people buy stuff from this shop, as its way cheaper in the supermarket in france!
I would go on this boat again if theres no other opition! But stick to seafrance! Thats by far the cleanest and theres plenty of seats for you to at least sit down!
We have just returned from a self-styled "mini-cruise", two nights on-board, and a day in Amsterdam. If you have never travelled, I would recommend it almost without reservation!
You can travel with or without your car, for very similar cost when we booked. Watch out for special offers - even though it was school holidays, we got two tickets for the price of one!
If travelling as a foot passenger, free parking is provided at the terminal in Hull, within easy walking distance of check-in (we parked within 100 metres of the boat!). At the other end, there are free transfer coaches to either Rotterdam or Amsterdam (about 90 minutes away by coach).
The boat is luxurious - and the food (not included within the price, but you can pre-pay when you book at a discount) is wonderful. We ate in the buffet restaurant for both dinner and breakfast. The former could have been a five-course meal if we'd had room for it!
Also on board are the usual shops - perfurme, tobacco, wine, gifts; two cinemas; a casino; various bars - one a piano bar, one an entertainment venue.
Our cabin was well-appointed - we paid for a sea view - and comfortable, although we had to ask for extra pillows. We were able to leave our luggage in the cabin whilst on the continent. If you are on a mini-cruise and you have a different cabin on the way back, you can leave your luggage securely on board.
Living, as we do, within an hour's drive of Hull, we will certainly travel again - and we will also give the Hull/Zebrugge route a go (not least because we are huge fans of Brugge!).
The mini cruise from Hull to Rotterdam which includes a comfortable coach transfer to Amsterdam is a super value break.A taste of the continent for £120 each including 4 top quality meals-2 nights of bed, breakfast and evening meal.The meals are optional but in my opinion they are well worth the money.
A superb 4 course dinner in a lovely reataurant-all buffet-help yourself to as much as you want and I can assure you its all delicioos.The breakfast was similar buffet style just help yourself to a huge array of everything you might want from continental to full English.And endless coffee or tea etc.
The twin bedded cabins are comfortable with an ideal bathroom en suite, hanging space and a small dressing table with mirror.We paid a bit extra for sea view and it was good to see the coast coming up as we approached Rotterdam.
When we first entered the cabin there was a single bed on one side all made up with sheets, quilt etc, and a sofa on the other side.Like a fool I hunted for bedding to turn this 'sofa' into a bed.But a fellow passenger showed me the trick-grasp the back of the 'sofa' pull it towards you and hey presto the other side of the sofa back is a fully made up bed!
We went out on deck after the evening meal (which is served at 6pm onwards) to watch the ship depart and make its way majestically down the Humber.Does the ship roll? Not a bit-I never staggered once and all I could feel was the vibration fom the engines but certainly no motion.I hardly knew I was at sea -to my great relief.So don't worry on that score.
Ive been on this trip twice now and we are going again on Sunday for the bulbfields this time.
The only downside is its a tiring trip because the tanoy wakes you up at 5am-they have to get everyone up and through the restauant before the ship docks about 8am as then everybody rushes off to get the free coaches to Amsterdam.Had I realised this perhaps I wouldn't have stayed in the bar till midnight!
But the advantage is the fact that from the moment you get on board there is nothing to worry about-the ship sets sail as you enjoy your floating hotel and soon you are in another country enjoying the sights of Amsterdam which is a fascinating city.At 5pm the coach picks you up and whisks you back to the ship-a quick shower then into the restaurant for a super meal again.Then into the bar to watch the show.Or take a drink in the top bar,sit out on deck and watch as the coast departs and the light fades and all you can see is the twinkling lights of the dozens of fishing vessels eaking out a living catching fish for the Dutch.
Lastly the bonus is the duty free booze.There are superb offers-eg 6 bottles of wine for £12,lots of beer and spirits at irresistable prices.You order and pay and they fill up a shopping trolley for you which you just collect from the shop as you leave the ship at 8am and push to your car in the multi storey car park at the terminal.What could be simpler.Beats airports hands down!You can save 40% on shop prices so your trip can end up costing next to nowt!
Hull to Zeebrugge
As I used to live in Belgium and my grandmother lived in England using P&O Ferries (at the time it was called North Sea Ferries and not owned by P&O) was the main way of going to see her. Now, I live in the UK and my dad still lives in Belgium, I still use the service today although there have been a lot of changes since P&O took over and not all is good.
++ The ways to book your mini cruise ++
There are three ways to book. Through
- Your travel agent,
- telephone 08705 980 333 (Mon-Fri 8am - 8pm, Sat-Sun and Bank Holidays 8am - 6.30pm)
- Via the online website http://www.poferries.com
Through your travel agent, I'd say is not recommended as they won't get you the best deal and it will cost you extra in the long run.
Through the telephone and online, they are pros and cons with both of these options.
The Pros of the telephone are that you can book shared cabins (which I will explain later), which you can't online and you're more likely to get a better deal and the dates, cabins and extras that you want to have. Also through the phone is the only way of booking mini trips/cruises.
Cons of the telephone are that it costs you money because if you don't know what you want, they will rattle off what they can offer you and as the saying goes time is money. So you really need to know what you want to book before you telephone them Also it's slow as sometime the line is bad or you can hear so many people chattering in the background that you have to keep repeating what they ask you and keep asking what they have just said to you.
Pros of the online website are its quick and easy and only cost your internet connection (and most people are now on broadband so it will be just pennies). You can take your time looking at different dates, cabins and if you really want to have dinner and breakfast.
The cons are that the website is hard to use at times. It doesn't tell you the prices of the cabins nor does it tell you how many cabins are available on the dates that you want and if they aren't any cabins available it doesn't tell you for example that there's no economy cabins available it's just blank. Also a lot of people don't like using their credit cards online and for credit cards, there's a £3 penalty for paying that way. Also mini cruise, which are cheaper are only available by telephoning P&O.
++ How to book by telephone ++
Dial this number 08705 980 333 and follow the instructions. Then you will be put through to an operator. They will ask you questions on when you want to go, from where, what cabin you would like and the good thing for students and other people alike is that through the phone, you can ask for a share cabin.
A share cabin is for people who can't afford £300 for a return trip especially in peak season. What happens is that you share with up to 4 other people to make the cost go down. For a return trip in peak season, you will pay about £100. Okay, they are some drawback like for one, you are sharing with other people that you don't know but you're not in your cabin all the time and if you don't like the look of your bunkmate, you can go to the reception and ask for a different room, which I have done in the past and they have been happy to comply.
Back to the telephone call, if you are happy with the price and what you've just booked, they start to ask for your contact and credit card or debit card details. Then they will give you the reference number that you need for the terminal.
MiniCruise can only be booked through the telephone. What is a minicruise then?
A 2 or 3 nights stay either in Amsterdam, Rotterdam or Brugge from Hull and from Portsmouth to Biblao. As a Foot passenger, the Minicruise includes 2 nights on board one of our luxury Cruise ferries in a 2 berth inside ensuite cabin, return city centre Coach transfers on the Continent and Free car parking at Hull.
Price start from
Saturday - Thursday Departures £60 per person
Friday Departures £105 per person
++ How to book online ++
Go to the main P&O ferries website and normally you will get a screen that asks you:
Country of residence
Language (only English at the moment)
Select your site. Normally, you would click on passenger
Then when you've selected what you want click the enter button. Then a blue box appears on the screen with various things you can choose.
Type of journey
- Land bridge (only for going to Ireland Liverpool to Dublin and Cairnryan and Troon to Larne)
- MiniCruise (they refer you to the telephone number as you can't book this online)
Then it says about promotional code, which is for people that travel quite regular with P&O and they get them through the post or promotional codes that certain newspapers offer sometimes throughout the year.
The choice of routes you have are
Dover - Calais
Portsmouth - Le Havre
Hull - Rotterdam
Hull - Zeebrugge
Portsmouth - Biblao
Calais - Dover
Le Havre - Portsmouth
Rotterdam - Hull
Zeebrugge - Hull
Then you get to choose the dates, how many people are travelling with you and if they are adults (16+) or children (4-15yrs or under 4). Even if you're bring a cat or a dog.
Then you get the method of travel: bicycle, car, car and caravan, car and trailer, car roof box and trailer, car with roof box, foot, minibus, motorcycle, motor home & motor home and trailer.
I'm based my info on the Hull to Zeebrugge return route.
I've chosen the dates 20/08 Hull - Zeebrugge and I will return on the 31/08 Zeebrugge - Hull. I'm by foot.
I click on the 'get quote' button. It takes me to another page. At the top, they ask me if I went any meals on board. You can choose none, dinner only, breakfast only or breakfast and dinner. You still can get vouchers for the meals on board but it's a lot more expensive. More on that later.
Then there's a list of the accommodation available on the dates you have chosen.
Club Family 5 Berth
Premier 4 Berth Outside
Premier 4 Berth Inside
Standard 4 Berth Outside
Standard 2 Berth Outside
Standard 2 Berth Outside
Standard 4 Berth Inside
Standard 2 Berth Inside
Standard 2 Berth Inside
Economy 2 Berth Inside
The most expensive is at the top and the least expensive is at the bottom. The cabins, to be honest don't really vary that much unless you pick Premiere or Club cabin.
So a return trip to Hull - Zeebrugge can cost from £100 - £500 per person. Depending on the time of year, the cabin you choose, what method of travel you have and if you want the meal onboard or not. Of course, the more people go, the less expensive it is.
I click that I wanted an Economy 2 Berth Inside go and coming back. I choose to have no meals onboard.
Then it tells you the quotation; I'll copy it so you can see
outbound Hull - Zeebrugge
Saturday 20 August 2005 19:00 - Sunday 21 August 2005 08:30 PRIDE OF YORK
Return Zeebrugge - Hull
Wednesday 31 August 2005 19:00 - Thursday 01 September 2005 08:00 PRIDE OF YORK
Sub total £34.25
Then they add the accommodation which is £200 so it's £100 each way.
The total comes to 234.25
If you're happy with your selection, click to continue. Then it will ask for your contact details and ask for you to agree with the terms and conditions (the standard 18 million pages that they want you to read and understand) and click on book now then they will ask for your credit card details.
Then that should be processed and you will get a conformation email with the reference code that you take to show at the terminal.
They don't send out tickets anymore only to travel agents and then you have to book well in advance.
++ Getting to the terminal ++
To go this website and it will show you the directions to Hull by Car, Rail or by Bus. It's pointless just copying into the review.
It's best to get there for four o'clock as that's when boarding of the ship starts.
++ Check in at Hull ++
Just go to the front desk. You may have to queue. Have your reference number ready and your passports too. The person on the desk will give you your ticket as well as your return ticket if you have on.
The tickets are your boarding card and voyage coupon. You show your boarding card when you get on board and voyage coupon is for a bookmark. Only kidding, it's for when you have a return trip, you have to show this instead of your reference number. It also tells you how much you paid for each way.
Also on your ticket, it tells you the departure time. 19:00 both ways. Check in time is at least 90 minutes before that so make sure you get there in time. It's best to get there for around four o'clock as that's when boarding of the ship starts.
Then if you are foot passenger, you go through customs and up the stairs to the terminal lounge where you wait until they make an announcement.
If you're in a vehicle, you can go back to your vehicle and wait until they tell you can board the ship.
The check in at Zeebrugge is just the same.
++ The terminal in Hull ++
The lounge décor could do with an update as I remember that it only changed when I was about 7. That's about 15 years ago. There were 4 vending machines but the soft drinks and sandwich vending machines were out of order and they had been the last time I went, which was nearly 7 weeks previous. There's a children's play area, 2 arcade machines and 2 paying telephones. There are toilets for men, woman and also a disables toilet. They were very clean and nice. They also had a TV in lounge for entertainment but Cricket is really not my cup of tea. There were plenty of seats available but they could have been slightly more comfy than the hard plastic chairs they had provided.
++ The terminal in Zeebrugge. ++
It's light and air and the décor is not too bad. Upstairs, there are no vending machines but a little café that opens at 2 o'clock but is not open in the morning when you get off the ship. There's a child's play area and the toilet are nice and clean as well. Again with the hard plastic chairs. There's no TV in this terminal but you can have a free newspaper if you can read Dutch.
After waiting at both terminals, there and back. They both have the same procedure. They make an announcement; we can finally board the ship. You have to show your passport again and then they tear the strip of your boarding card and now you're on the ship.
++ The ships you sail on ++
When you arrive at the terminal, you will see the ship directly. P&O Ferries on the Hull - Zeebrugge route have two ships.
Pride of York and Pride of Bruges
I went on the Pride of Bruges. It looks like it's recently been painted or washed down.
++ Pride of Bruges ++
As I stepped onto the ship, the staff greeted me with friendliness and told me where I could get my key even though I'd been on the ship a million already. I went to my cabin, which was on the red deck, they floor you are on when you board the ship anyway.
I put the key in the slot and open the door. I'd booked a Standard 2 Berth Outside. I look at the cabin. In the corner, they are the bunk beds. Next to that behind a door, are the toilet, shower and sink. Opposite to the bunk beds, there's a mirror and small chair, which is perfect for doing your make up in the morning. Next to the mirror, there are some hangers and pegs to hang your clothes. In the bathroom, you can find towels (if there isn't enough ask at the reception and they will get you some more). In front of the mirror in the bathroom, you will also find some little bottles of shampoo and shower gel and a little mini soap. Just like they do in hotels. The shower is divine. The water pressure is perfect and temperate is just right. It's regulated through the mixer tap on the wall.
The lay out of the ships is
There are lifts and stairs to get to all of the decks. The lift also goes to the car decks but not when the ship is sailing so don't forget anything in your car.
++The Green Deck ++
The green deck is where the restaurant is. From experience, I know to avoid the restaurant as it's pricey (the vouchers for dinner alone is £16.50, £12 breakfast I think and 32.50 for both if you buy it on ship) and although you can eat as much as you want, the food is quite horrible since P&O ferries took over from North Sea Ferries.
They also have a children's entertainer on green deck so I've been told as I don't have children, I do not need this service.
++The Red Deck ++
The red deck where all the shops are. They are 3 shops.
Magazines, newspapers, chocolate, etc
Perfume, make up, Spirits and some other knick knacks
Wine and beer shop
They are nice but sometimes the items are overpriced but its lovely just to look around them when you're bored or need a stretch.
There are 2 bars on the red deck. The main bar that has a disco floor and the wine bar for the more relaxing and quiet drinks.
The main bar has children's entertainment in the summer until nine o'clock then it either has a pub/bar quiz or just song by a DJ. In between this, there's live music entertainment but I'd bring some earplugs if I was you because lately the "band" has been terrible.
If you don't fancy going to the restaurant for a bite to eat, I suggest you go to the continental café. They do coffees, teas, orange juice and a lovely assortment of Danishes, croissant, muffins and sandwiches. It's great in the morning as they bake the croissants and Danishes fresh. It will cost you about £3 for an orange juice and two croissants (that's what I always have)
Also on the red deck is the information desk, foreign currency exchange desk and the exit (shore gang way for in the morning to leave the ship again).
Information desk is where you can buy your cinema ticket, complain about your cabin or get your tea/coffee deliver to the door in the morning for £1.50.
Foreign currency exchange is where you get your Euros but also get some pounds as well. Remember there's a charge of £3 for each transaction.
++ The blue Deck ++
On the blue deck, there's the cinema and the piano bar. Like I said you can buy your cinema tickets downstairs on Red Deck at the information desk. You have the choice of three films.
19.00 The fantastic Four
21.00 Batman Begins
23.00 Sin City
They don't swap them around as there's only one room for the cinema so if it's on that time, that's the time you have to watch it.
The tickets costs £4.50 for an adult and think its £2.50 for a child under 12.
The piano bar is where the older generation likes to crowd around in as it's quiet and less noisy and loud than down in the main disco bar and the wine bar isn't really big enough. Also they seem to like listening to the piano. I remember that my gran used to love the piano bar, it was her favourite haunt on the ship.
In the right hand corner of the piano bar hidden away, there's a TV. Sometimes, it's on especially when it's something important like the World Cup, Olympics, and Euro 2004 etc.
++ General information ++
The drinks aren't that expensive to buy in the ship's bar and either is the spirits, beer and wine to take home with you.
There's a toilet on the red deck next to the disco bar for the men and next to the shops for the women.
You can go out on deck for some fresh air on blue deck and red deck. Wrap up warm as it can be very chilly and also be careful when it's windy because you don't want to lose your handbag or expensive items or worse fly over the edge of the ship into the sea.
Close the door when showering as it can set off the fire alarm in your cabin.
Take sea sickness tablet, just incase. Believe me when it gets stormy (I know), nobody is immune to it.
Dinner is served at 19.00 until 9.30
Breakfast is served at 6.00 in the morning local time and stops when we dock.
++ Leaving the ship ++
The shops close about 15 minutes before we dock so get your spirits, cigarettes ... before that time.
The people start to crowd around information desk around 7.30 but everyone is going to get of the ship so don't worry so much about being first.
You have to have your passports ready again. At both terminals, there's a bus to take you to either Brugge or Hull Town centre but when you are in Hull, the bus isn't always there so it's better to go in a taxi so you can catch your bus or train well on time.
++ My experience ++
Since I've been going back and forth since I was little baby, I'm used to the ship and also know some of the staff. Although, it has changed a lot since P&O Ferries bought out North Sea Ferries. The change of ships was some getting used to since the new ones to Rotterdam came, we got to the old ship off the Rotterdam line and they were put onto the Zeebrugge line. I like the smaller ships better. They were cosier. They also changed the name of the ships. They were called Norsea and Norsun but as P&O's ships all started with Pride; they changed it to Pride of York and Pride of Bruges.
Also the food in the restaurant used to be better and it was included in your ticket price. A voucher for breakfast and dinner now is far too expensive, for the rubbish quality you get.
The staff are great really friendly even the ones that are new and don't know me because of course some even don't recognise me as I'm not 9 anymore lol.
Travelling on the ships is great and fun experience but it's only for a couple of times. I recommend you go on a mini trip, have fun. Maybe go with a coach full of people then the price is nearly nothing. If you do the trip too often like me, the ship will become very boring to you. But it is a must have experience for everyone. Especially kids. I remember having a ball as a kid on that ship. Dancing in the disco, meeting new kids really fun.
To contact them in Zeebrugge
Leopold II-dam 13
Telephone : 02 710 64 44
To contact them in Hull
P & O North Sea Ferries Ltd.,
King George Dock
Telephone : 0870 129 6002/ 01482 708244
(for lost items or complain about the company)
In Febuary 2004 i happend to have a very good friend recomend to me the crossing from Hull to Rotterdam with P&O. Having sailed on many of P&O's vessels i thought we would give it a go. We arrived at the Port of Hull at about ten to five in the afternoon, collected our tickets and waited to board. The first impressions of the sheer size of the ship was very impressive, it looked well sat in the evening sun light just before dark. Boarding. Once boarding started we were greeted at the reception area on deck 8, our cabin number was 10164, the staff was very helpful and it took no time to find our cabin located on deck 10 forward beneath the bridge on the starboard side. The cabin was of a supperb standard with on suite shower and toilet, a dresser which was from floor to roof much to the delight of my Girlfriend. The Cabins were well thought out with the room they had, one bed tucks up to the wall out of the way and the other swings into a sofa whilst waiting for her to get ready for going out for a meal. Things to do. Once we had got our things sorted out in the cabin we thought it was time to find our way round the ship. All together they were 4 of us go on the mini cruise, once we had looked round we got settled in the Sky Lounge on deck 12, we chose some seats by the enormous windows which gave us a supperb view across the city of Hull. We stayed here until the vessel slipped her moorings and was on her way at about ten to nine. The lasses then went for a meal whilst we took refuge in the Irish Bar, in my opinion this bar is not as good as the Sky Lounge but is still a very good place. Once joined by the girlfriends we wonderd into the Sunset Show Lounge, we sat on the upper level in this lounge as it is over two decks. The shows which were on were very entertaining and passed the time well, once all the shows have finished thats when she wanted to get dancing, the dance floor been down a level to where we were
sat gave some very good photo opertunities. They are other things to do than just the bars, these consisted to my knowledge of varoius seating areas, Two cinemas which we did not try out, a casiono were you can loose all your money, a choice of food areas and the food is very nice, a games arcade, ciber cafe, and the list goes on. The passenger areas are spread across 4 decks, Deck 8 is the reception area, Show Lounge, Shops, Seating areas and reteraunt Aft. Deck 9 boasts yet more shops, the Irish Bar, a cafe situated aft above the Resteraunt and over things i cant quite remember. Deck 10 is Taken up entierly by passenger cabins (they are also cabins located forward on decks 8 and 9). Deck 11 is the crew quaters with no passenger access, only the outer deck with the sun lounge is accessable to passengers. Deck 12 contains the Sky Lounge and access to the outer decks which were freezing at this time of year even more so when sailing in a force 11 gale. The Ship. I have to say well done P&O for introducing such wonderful ships, against the old ones one of which, The Pride Of York was berthed in the king george dock when we departed and looked very small to the new ones. The only nagging point i can think of is that they have replaced two freight ships as well as the two small car ferries with these giants, a result of which is that many decks are taken for freight units and could of been used for passenger areas. Even though the weather was against us the ship handled it really well and with minimum uncomfort to the passengers. The result. What a good time we had on the minicruise, i would be quite happy to recomend this to anyone, top marks to P&O. Update 1.7.04 We have recently sailed this crossing again, this time the weather was kind to us. The embarkation in hull was a nightmare, i got stopped by the police asking what my intentions of traveling abroad were!. This time we sailed on the pride of h
ull which is the same lay out as the pride of rotterdam but the crew are not as friendly and it just doesnt seem to have the same buzz about it. We were in a inside cabin this time with bunk beds, the cabins are not as large as the outside cabins and the toilet is cramped, still its only some where to put your head down at the end of the day. All in all it was good enough but they is something about the ship what i cant quite lay my finger on as why she is not as good as her sister ship even though they are identical throughout.
Travelling on the North Sea has in recent times developed a bad reputation. Passengers usually expect any old tub waiting to carry them on an overnight crossing, with poor cabins and no proper facilities. But no more. P&O Ferries have re-branded themselves with a new cruise-style background, and it really does work. Company Background ---------------------------- The company started in 1966 as North Sea Ferries, a joint venture between P&O and Dutch shipping giant Nedlloyd. Having begun with a passenger service from Hull to Rotterdam, the company quickly expanded to operate a passenger service to the Belgian port of Zeebrugge and various freight routes. Not much changed till 1996 when P&O bought out Nedlloyd?s share to become a wholly owned P&O company. In 1997 P&O European Ferries freight routes from Felixstowe to Rotterdam and Zeebrugge were combined with the old North Sea Ferries services to form P&O North Sea Ferries. In 2001 the company introduced two huge new cruise ferries, the Pride of Hull and Pride of Rotterdam; the largest car ferries in the world, onto the Hull - Rotterdam route. The two ferries previously operating the Rotterdam route each underwent a £7 million refurbishment and were introduced onto the Zeebrugge route. In 2002 the Felixstowe routes were axed in order for P&O to buy out Stena?s share of P&O Stena Line. Following this all P&O ferry operations were merged to form P&O Ferries, which is where the company stands today. As P&O Ferries, the company now has a much better and easier booking scheme, and the single brand works very well. There is also a more common fares scheme. www.POferries.com My Experience - Hull - Rotterdam (Pride of Rotterdam) ----------------------------------------------------------------------- Hull sadly has a reputation as not being one of the nicest places in Britain... But there is light on the horizon and change is already starting to happen. The Dee
p, the city's new aquarium, is a major tourist attraction, among other new developments. With their two new cruise ferries, P&O have also invested in a new terminal as well. Access to the terminal is seemingly through a busy industrial estate (but you'll find that in any port). Once in view of the terminal you are also in view of the ferry you will take. After reading the on-board magazine I read the ferries were designed to 'provoke the wow factor', and it works, the ferries are truly breathtaking. They have been designed for that cruise image, and their sleek design shows this, although the 4 long decks of passenger accommodation sit on top of several huge vehicle decks which make the vessels look a little uglier. Car Passengers: There is generally a queue of cars waiting to get on the ship, particularly if you arrive early. Generally you are asked to be there around an hour before departure. Once through the barriers, you drive up a ramp to get onto the ship, where there is usually a line of security officers lying in wait. To access the ship with your car, you have to drive over a ramp and through side of the ship (Pride of Hull and Pride of Rotterdam are side-loading only for cars). Once you've had your car parked, you have to use a huge lift to get up to the passenger decks. Foot Passengers Foot Passengers have to go to the terminal itself and wait to be organised before walking onto the ferry. Accommodation First impressions of the new ferry (Pride of Rotterdam) are not good - basically because you're crammed into a lift with a load of strangers. However, once you get out onto the main passenger decks, however, this changes. The ships interiors are clean, bright and modern. When designing the ship, the market researchers came out with 3 main key words; 'modern', 'natural' and 'nostalgic'. Like many new ferries, the materials used were actually real (unlike olde
r ferries), and the Pride of Rotterdam features real moulded plaster cornicing on the ceilings, warm-toned woods and natural timbers, natural stone, and specifically designed furnishings, carpets, curtains and blinds in 'punchy' colours (the European element). The cabins were actually quite comfortable - we had one without a window, but it was well-lit and furnished, (with a desk) the beds were long and comfortable (actually 2.10m long, instead of the usual 1.95m), with reading lights, and pillows (other North Sea operators have been known to deprive their customers of pillows in any class lower than the first class). The 'bathroom' (roughly around the size of a cupboard) had a shower, toilet and washbasin. The bathrooms have tiled floors, polished granite worktops, and Philippe Starck-designed taps! Stylish... Whilst there are predominately standard cabins, there are also 14 luxury cabins, 4 'staterooms', 2 suites and a few special cabins for disabled passengers. Some cabins have doors through to the next one, so parents can have children in the next cabin without having to worry about them. Much. As the ship usually sets sail at 9 o'clock, (though passengers can board from around 4) it means that a wide range of facilities and entertainment is provided on both the Pride of Rotterdam and Pride of Hull. For early-boarding passengers, there is a sun deck (which is teak-planked). Whilst you can appreciate the idea that some people do board early, generally passengers don't make it to the sun deck till around 9, when the ship sets sail, by which time it is usually dark, rendering the Sun Deck entirely useless. One of the best things the ship has on offer is the Sky Lounge. Sitting at the very top of the ship, (it's right next to the funnel) the Sky Lounge was designed to work both day and night. At night, the bar, and the 'warm, rich-coloured' wood create a good atmosphere, and there is a p
iano player, which can be a good feature or a bad one, depends who it is playing! By day, the lilac colour in the Sky Lounge makes this a light and fresh area for breakfast, as well as helping the 'Lounge to serve it's full purpose; to provide views, and it certainly does work. Other areas include the Cyber Zone, which has 9 computers with permanent online access, perfect for e-mailing friends to inform them of your travels, or even just to surf the web. This is also the perfect place to waste time! There is a Business Lounge (for people planning on working onboard) which has some comfortable seats, and permanent online 'workstations' so you get down to work, instead of unwinding like we all should do, really. There is however, a bar in the Business Lounge. These are just some of the features of the Pride of Rotterdam and her sister vessel. There is also the 318-seater Sunset Showlounge, which has a good variety of entertainment and a bar. There are two cinemas, bars, several restaurants (the main one being the Four Seasons), shops, a bizarre 'quiet room' for unwinding and several cafés, and of course, a very good amount of open deck space for fresh air. There is very much sufficient entertainment for the crossing, but if all else fails, the cabins are a good place to crash anyway! Passengers who are somewhat apprehensive about taking to the North Sea; do not be so, these vessels are huge and have the very latest stability technology. You wouldn't guess you were out at sea when I went, it seriously was that comfortable. With their new cruiseferries P&O have entered a new era in North Sea travel, the standards on the ships are far removed from what could be found on the route 20 years ago. With the new single brand of P&O Ferries, the standards set by Pride of Rotterdam and Pride of Hull are spreading across the fleet, and sea travel could actually be an enjoyable experience. I thoroughly enjo
yed the experience, I would certainly like to do it again, and I advise all others take my word for it and travel with P&O Ferries. Company website: www.POferries.com Parent company website: www.pogroup.com